Just When you Need It!

Sometimes something happens right when you REALLY need it!  I often talk about how being in the business of surface design is like a rollercoaster ride.  Many times this rollercoaster ride seems to have more nosedives than blastoffs!  Those nosedives?  They are usually provoked by that “evil little inner voice” that likes to compare my work to others and tell me “you’ll never amount to anything”.  Most days I can push this “voice” aside, not listen and not buy into it, but some days it gets hold of me and pulls me down that rabbit hole.  Ugh, if any of you have this issue, you know the place I am talking about. It’s a dark, ugly space where creative juices dry up and optimism is unheard of.  You know that song by Sam Phillips, “Where the Colors Don’t Go”? well, her lyrics explain it all.  Nothing grows there, especially color!


So getting on with my story, and it’s a very good one!  Two weeks ago I did a little four question “e-mail interview” with a lovely woman named Rose that works with the “On The Surface” (SURTEX) E- Newsletter. You probably remember I exhibited at SURTEX 2016, last May.  This e-mail popped into my inbox (which usually I tend to delete even before reading because I think it may be junk from an on-line marketer trying to sell their services), but this time I opened and read it. Thank goodness I did.  This was JUST WHAT I NEEDED, JUST WHEN I NEEDED IT!

This e-mail was from a lovely person by the name of Rose Gilbert.  She had questions as to what I did last summer, how my summer inspired my creativity and about life after SURTEX.  At the time, I answered the questions attached some artwork, as they requested and sent it immediately back, thinking “this may end up being nothing, but who knows” and I totally forgot about it!!!!

A few days ago, to my surprise, and in a slump, a newsletter popped into my inbox from “On The Surface”, the e-newsletter from SURTEX.   I scanned through it, completely forgetting about the interview I did and all of a sudden I saw my face!  OMG!  I didn’t even read it, I handed my phone over to my husband and he started to read it to me!  To say that I was shocked, was an understatement.  I really did forget about it.  Rose made me sound so much more like an artist (and a grown-up) than I view myself to be!  Below you can read part of the SURTEX e-newsletter!


When you head over to the SURTEX website, there doesn’t seem to be a place to access this particular newsletter.  You will find older newsletters there, but not this one for some reason.  I am not sure why, but I am sure many, many attendees and exhibitors received this e-newsletter edition in their mailbox, just as I did.

So I guess you can say I am on the upswing of the rollercoaster ride.  I know it won’t last forever, but I am going to enjoy this feeling for a little while before it’s time to experience the next dip.

Have a great week everyone!

Create Something!


Sewing and Such…

I have been absent from writing for two months.  I have been creating.  Sometimes I find blogging about it, and also doing it (creating) is too much for me to do.  I also have two boys to somewhat parent, A husband that needs a wife, two pugs to keep alive and then there are those plants that come to my house to die.  That last one is the easy one.

I didn’t get a chance to blog about Sew South- which is totally the “Bee’s Knees”, by the way.  The fact of the matter is, is that many others that attended Sew South did such a fabulous job describing the whole event, that I felt like I would be reinventing the wheel.  Here are a couple blogs you should check out:  The Sewing Chick– she is a pretty cool chicky at that!  I love her!  You could also check out Trina Peterson from Sew Many Possibilities.  Trina is an amazing, wonderful young lady full of all kinds of talent.  I love her too.  In fact I have to say, that everyone I came into contact with was quite wonderful and welcoming.  If you are going to head to a weekend sewing retreat on your own this is the one to travel for.  Everyone made it so easy.  Last but not least is, Jennifer Mathis from Ellison Lane and also the creator of Sew South.  I cannot say enough about her.  She loves to give, give, give- it makes her SO happy.

Here are a few things I have been up to:


I made 50 luggage tags and then gifted them to all my new Sew South friends after Sew South.  I used the pattern by Studio Cherie.

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These are just a portion of the 50 I made after Sew South and sent off to their new homes.


I flew to New York for a Heather Ross Workshop day which was a lot of fun. I have to say though for me the highlight of New York was the 911 Museum.  It really is something you must see!

photo 4-39The outdoor fountain is breathtaking.  It was so thoughtfully created.

photo 3-42This is part of the indoor museum where many people are laid to rest behind this wall.  I cannot even express how somber this museum is.  It really is something you have to see and experience.


I purchased a Speak Your Silence Kit to sew #Thestitch onto my gray sneakers.

photo 4

My mom was sexually abused by her step-father for many years, that is why I wear The Stitch.

photo 2-44This is a great charity that offers free counseling to adults that have been sexually abused as children.  You should really check them out.


I sewed up a Sew Together Bag, designed by the not crazy Sew Demented. I would love to see how her brain works!  This bag goes together in a way that I could not even have imagined.  It is ingenious!

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photo 2-46This was gifted to my post Sew South Secret Sister!


I sewed up 5 pillow covers for my good friend Susie:

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I was pretty happy with the results, each pillow had a zipper and piping.  We found the sailboat fabric on etsy for I think 3.95 a yard, compared to the Calico Corners fabric, which was somewhere around 115.00 a yard!  Crazy huh?


I found this Doris Day door hanger at an estate sale.

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I wasn’t even going to attend, but “something” made me take a left turn instead of a right and I found this for a dollar!  Thank you “something” for making me take that turn!


I made a Michigan State logo for the back of Kenny’s graduation robe.  The kids decorate the back of their robes with the colleges or universities they are attending in the fall.  I don’t think this is a tradition at all the high schools it seems pretty unique.

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It makes for a fun project.  Kenny and his friend Katie, did their caps themselves.

Kenny also graduated, what kind of mom would I be if I didn’t include a graduation picture?


I made 8 of these “Survival Kit” jars for Kenny and 7 of his friends.

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Included in the kit?  Chocolate, Candy, altoids, sunscreen, and of course a sewing kit.  You can’t leave home without a sewing kit!


We finally made it to the East Coast!

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Yep!  The sign really does change each year!


I found this lovely vintage quilt at an antique store for $100.00!

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There are a few spots, that I didn’t discover until I got home, but it is all hand quilted and hand pieced!

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Pretty AH-Mazing, huh?!  It measures about 7.5 feet x 8.5 feet!  It is huge!  I am going to get it professionally cleaned eventually.


And lastly… Which actually took place first and took almost as long as the luggage tags, I created a tutorial for this bag.

patchwork wristlet tutorial-01

The link will be on my website on Friday the 27th.  Ellison Lane is doing a patchwork series and this bag is part of that series.  You can check back to Swellsewing.com on Friday or you can check with Ellisonlane.com on Friday for the actual tutorial on how to make this fun versatile bag.  Making this tutorial was quite the learning experience for me.  I hope to do more of these tutorials in the future.  We’ll have to wait and see how well this one does.

So until Friday…. Stay Crafty!

The Bi-Coastal Quilt

So…. do you remember that secret surprise that I referred to in this post?  Well, this is it!  The Bi-Coastal Quilt.  Finally finished and sent to its new home.

It’s hard to believe that I sewed my first real quilt only about a year ago, after visiting Jennifer Paganelli’s studio sale.  I picked up a couple bags of her fabric scraps and sewed together this quilt- and learned a hell of a lot along the way.  The “Bi-Coastal” quilt (I am calling it this because I started it in California and finished it in Cape Cod) is now my 4th finished quilt.

This quilt was started in May, (inspired by my friend Susie and her rapidly approaching nuptials to a great guy), but finished in July. Since this was a second marriage for both of them they requested no gifts (who really listens to that, right?), I thought a quilt would be something they would always have and hopefully treasure.  photo-6

I opted for a string quilt, and to my surprise, all these fabrics came from my stash, even the Kona Snow that inhabits the negative space of the quilt!  I think using fabrics that come from a stash, is one of the most gratifying feelings!  If I were to really sit down and study this string quilt, I would be able to identify fabrics that I made headbands out of, fabrics used for dresses and handbags, even fabric from a pair of Munki-Munki pajamas that I disassembled (I had to have the goldfish in the baggie represented in her quilt somewhere!)



It really was a labor of love.  In fact, I feel like a part of me is sewn into each quilt I make.  I spend a lot of time planning, gathering, cutting and sewing each part together.  So the photo with me in front of the pond is me loving on the quilt and saying goodbye to it.

As for some things I would love to improve on?  All the points on this quilt don’t match up, but I had to let that go, otherwise they wouldn’t being seeing this quilt until their 1 year anniversary.photo-13

And this was my first real try at Free Motion Quilting, my own rendition.  I think with more practice, I might like it?  Maybe my hands, back and neck won’t cramp as much with more practice also?photo-11

 This rendition could be called the confused circle pattern, they don’t know if they are coming or going!  Just like the maker!!!!  🙂


Here’s the front after being washed.


The back after being washed.  I love how the different stitching seems to make the color of the quilt change.

One last thing that I need improvement on is the binding of the quilt.  I didn’t do pointed corners on this quilt.  I wanted to, believe me, but it just wasn’t the way it worked out.

My next post is going to be my give-away and it is going to be a good one!  Does the name  Aneela Hoey mean anything to you?  Well if you don’t know her you should! Check this out.

Have a great week!


Hi everybody!  This is about the 3rd time I have tried to write a blog post in the last couple weeks.   I get started and realize that I am writing about TOO many things and my thoughts are all over the map.  The other reason a post hasn’t went up is because the “bandwidth” (I am not computer savvy, but apparently that is the amount of time it takes for my oldest son, Kenny to yell at me about hogging the internet) is very insufficient.  So I get booted off either by Kenny or by the internet itself.  If only I could do that to everyone around me when I have reached my maximum capacity.  🙂  I am just sayin’.   🙂 The possiblilities…. shall we all ponder that for a moment?….

Ahem…. back to the real world!

So in order to sum up so far what we have been up to I thought I would put together some telling pictures.


I have done a little sewing, we purchased a few 1000 piece puzzles,(from the Brewster General Store) this one is my favorite, and is all about vintage sewing!!!  I broke a bobbin while winding new thread onto it and here is a little peek of the surprise I am working on for a friend.  I am hoping to get it sent out tomorrow.

PicFrame-1 copy

I discovered an awesome quilt store here in Cape Cod, Tumbleweed Quilts.  They had a sale room that had plenty of Amy Butler fabric for 4.99 a yard!

Jim, the boys and I went to see The B52’s and The Go-Go’s!  The Go-Go’s were A-MAZ-ING and the whole show was AWESOME!!!! We had to drag the boys….. there were a few other kids dragged there by their parents as well.  My son Kenny at one moment during the concert looked at me and said “normally you dancing in public would totally embarrass me, but every other middle-aged mom here is doing the same thing, so it doesn’t bother me!  Will on the other hand had his I-Pad during the concert and was playing games. Wow… okay!

We got ourselves a paddle board!  The boys are having a great time on the pond with it.  Just as long as the snapping turtles stay away from them, it will all be good!

One more thing to show you that is oh so exciting to me…. I am famous… well, my gift is anyway.  Let me explain!

Last February I attended this workshop.  At the end of that workshop I gave a gift to Heather Ross and a gift to Gretchen Hirsch.  I gave Heather a blouse, which I got from Anthropologie, and it looked like her to me.  I’ve seen her wearing it several times in various pictures and I am thrilled that she has been enjoying it!   When I saw this picture I knew that it would be the perfect gift for Gretchen, since I knew her favorite color is pink and she had just dyed her hair pink.

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Now if any of you receive Threads magazine, Gretchen has a big old article all about her sewing studio in the August/September issue.  On her wall is the GIFT that I gave her.  Look, you can read it, the caption underneath clearly states that “this picture was a gift from a student”  I am THE STUDENT!!!! Ha!  I am being a little silly while I am saying this, because it could literally be anybody….. I wish she would have mentioned my name, but oh well I am just tickled pink (pardon the pun) that Gretchen liked the picture so much that it graces her wall!  It really means a whole lot!!!!

Don’t you love giving a gift and having it be the right fit!  Such a great feeling!!

That’s all for now folks!  Hope you are having a great week!

Watermelon Smiles!

Is there any better way to welcome summer than with a watermelon and a smile?

will watermellon smile

Our son Will, sure does enjoy his watermelon, it brings a nice big smile to his face!

Over the last couple of weeks we were readying ourselves for our big trip back east (Cape Cod).  Packing a family of 4 and 2 dogs for 7 weeks is not a small task when combined with the “end of school craziness”, graduation parties (next year our oldest graduates) and a “TOP SECRET” sewing project.  I can’t show it now, because it is a gift for someone and she may be a blog reader?!

I can show you this though!

 My LOL dress.  I wore this Liberty of London Cambie dress to a very good friend’s wedding.  Unfortunately with our rush to make it to the event before the bride we didn’t get any pictures of me wearing it. Dog gone it!

lol dress4

I pulled another one of my “I don’t need to read the directions” bits.  At least when it came to the straps.  Why do I do this?  Do any of you have these issues, thinking that just because you have put many sleeves and straps on garments that you THINK you know what you are doing so directions are not needed?!  Well, I did this, and the process of sewing the Cambie dress took me several more hours than it should have.

But let’s focus on the good, shall we?

First of all, you can never go wrong when it comes to Liberty of London fabric.  At around $36.00 a yard, it really is well worth it.  It has a lovely hand  and texture to it.  This particular print Carline Blue is out of print so I purchased it off of etsy (Pins and Needles) in July of last year.  I have been waiting for the perfect dress pattern.   The lightbulb went off over my head when I saw Sewaholics Cambie dress pattern.  I chose the sweetheart neckline and the full skirt option.

lol dress3

lol dress2

I absolutely love the fullness of the skirt and the marriage between the LOL fabric and the Cambie dress pattern was a match made in heaven.  I made the right choice for my coveted 3 yards of LOL.

I did have one slight fitting issue, that I didn’t have time to fix before the wedding.

new lol dress

 Well….. If I am real honest about it, it was a complete oversight.  It went undiscovered until I sat down at the wedding!!!! scandalous!  Note to self, bending and sitting are required activities for all home sewn garments before wearing out in public.  EEEEEEK!  I will be correcting this little fashion malfunction before I wear this beauty again.  Hopefully nobody noticed but my very tall husband.  🙂

So…. for the next several weeks I will be blogging, from Cape Cod, Massachusetts!  Does anyone know of any fabric/sewing events that I should attend on the east coast?

One thing I want to mention before I close this post is stay tuned for a give away.  I have some fun items I have been gathering for my next give away.  You won’t want to miss this one!!!

Enjoy your weekend!  Make it a crafty one!


It’s A Give-Away!

I have seen many other bloggers do Give-Aways. I wanted to take part in spreading this joy as well. I just love giving presents!!!! Anyway, I waited until the time was right. So when my blog hit around 50 followers, I thought NOW is the time! Here’s the scoop as to why and what I chose.

Summer here in Cape Cod has been lovely, the last few days we have been spared the humidity. Such a gift. During those hot and humid days I would do a little shopping to stay out of the heat. I discovered the best soap made right here in Cape Cod. I enjoy supporting local businesses, so I purchased a few bars. Well, I fell in love! The soap is made by Summer House and they come in a large variety of scents created from natural items found here in the Cape! I went back to the store and I chose 2 of these soaps as part of my Give-Away, Ocean Scrub and Summer Hydrangea. The Ocean Scrub is awesome, its minty scent wakes you up and its salty texture sloughs off dead skin! It’s great! Cape Cod is covered with hydrangeas, so it is only fitting that this lightly scented soap be part of my Give-Away!

With these 2 soaps as my inspiration I sewed one of my Gosh Golly Goods cosmetic bags to reflect the colors that I think of when I think of Cape Cod. It has a zip top and an inside pocketed panel.

I picked up several yards of Liesl Gibson’s fabrics (Lisette) from Joann Fabrics to create this. Great colors for the Cape.

Back of the cosmetic bag.

Interior view of bag with the pocketed panel for brushes, mascara, long lipsticks and so on. (Brushes are not part of the give-away)

So to enter for the Give-Away, all I need you to do is comment on this entry in my blog. Tell me what item of clothing is your “goto piece”. Something that you feel never lets you down. You know, that thing you can put on when you are feeling you are having a “fat” day and nothing looks good. I would say that for me, right now, it would be my black jersey v-neck dress. I can dress it up or down and I can hide my belly in it when I am feeling a little chubbier than normal. Comments must be received by Sunday, August 5th at Midnight.

Winners will be announced Monday August 6th. If you are one of my international visitors, you are also eligible!

When you comment please make sure that I have a way of contacting you either through your blog or an e-mail.

Thanks and Good Luck!

Then And Now

I don’t know about you, but I love a good “before and after” show and tell.  Shows like “The Biggest Loser” or “Trading Spaces” always intrigue me.

A few years ago when we bought our little house in Cape Cod, we really had to picture what it could be.  The house had dark wood finishes throughout and some very sad worn out furniture that came along with the purchase.  Don’t get me wrong, we were thrilled when we were able to have the house furnished.  It was as if the owners that sold us the house were abducted, they left everything!  The kitchen was fully stocked with everything you would need for cooking and eating, the closets were full of linens that each bed and bath required and I even found a can of Aqua Net under the bathroom sink.  Remember that stuff?

Most everything wasn’t our style, but it would do nicely for now since, running out to buy all the necessities required to spend a summer would have been monumental!  Gradually we are making changes.



We put shells down in the driveway and repainted the house, also the shutters were removed.  We couldn’t decide on what color to paint the shutters, so we just took them down.

A special sign was given to our house to reflect our excitement of each summer arrival.

Our last name is Wirth so it is quite fitting and since we arrive from the West Coast, It is certainly a “trip”.

Here is the kitchen Before:

For all of you that love pineapples out there, I am so sorry, but they had to go.  Each stenciled pineapple took about 5 coats of paint!

Kitchen After:

Painting the kitchen a pale blue and adding those bright appliances, really brightened the kitchen up.  It really needed it!

Here is our family room before:

Dark wood made it seem like a cave.

Family room after:

Fresh paint on the walls, windows and beams made all the difference in the world!  The chair seen in the right side of the picture has since been recovered as well.

Dining room before:

Beige walls and beige floors.  We needed a fresh start!  Fresh paint for all the woodwork and walls!

See what I mean?  What a big difference!

Last stop for now is the basement.  Did you know that in California, most houses don’t have basements?  I am not sure why, maybe it is because we have earthquakes? I don’t know, but it is something that we take full advantage of here in the East.

Basement Before:

Basement After:

A different perspective in this photo, but you get the idea.  We ripped up the old rust colored shag and placed gray 20″ x 20″ tile in its place.  All the woodwork was painted a nice Chantilly Lace White and the walls were painted a color called Salt Air.  The old “pleather” couches have stayed for now, but I am thinking that their life here in our home is very limited.  They are pretty fugly!  😦

So in concluding my “Then and Now” I wanted to show you the real reason we purchased this house….

Lily Pond (and the back of our house).

It is such a kick to sit on the deck and watch all the wildlife. There is a show everyday and it’s always good!

Thanks for looking!  Have a great day!

Massachusetts Monday- No Manic Monday Here!

For all you Bostonians….. “We’re Baaaack”…..   The crazy Wirth’s are in town.   We arrived yesterday with too many suitcases and two crazy dogs.  Those knucklehead dogs.  Ruby slept on my lap the whole way and Peek-A-Boo slept in her “studio apartment” all the way.  This would be her bag under the seat.  She wasn’t real thrilled about it, picture the Tasmanian Devil– that is exactly how she behaved until she sucumbed to the drug.

Ruby on the left and Peekers.

Peekers and sneakers.

(Sorry can’t resist a few cute pictures of the girls)

I have started off my first morning as many Bostonians do every day.  A “regular” Dunkin Donuts Coffee and a “coffee roll”  (a coffee roll is not a donut by the way- I learned this from the DD people themselves, last year).  Mmmmmmm, so good and so bad for you all at the same time.  It’s a beautiful thing!

It is really great to be here in Cape Cod, before the season actually starts.  There isn’t much traffic and we get to see this area slowly “wake up”.  I just love it here.  Our little slice of heaven.  If you haven’t been, you really must.

I wanted to show you my mini-makeover of our foyer in our California house.  I didn’t have much time to complete it like I really wanted to- but I did manage to craft a few blinds before we vacated the premises.  Here are some before and after shots.

Someday, perhaps I will do a tutorial on making a shade.  I used all the old hardware from the original shades to craft these two and it worked out okay, thank goodness!

So I am off to “food shop” as they call it here.  Our fridge is bare.   😦

I also want to give a shout out to Lavender from Threadsquare.  She lives in these parts- and I would love to have coffee or a drink, if she can make time to meet one of her biggest fans!!!   🙂

Have a wonderful, wonderful Monday!!!!

A Sweltering Summer and The Self Drafted Maxi Dress

Last summer, while in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, I bought scads of Amy Butler Daisy Chain Daisy Bouquet In Forest from an on-line vender.

Which is this.   It reads more turquoise than forest to me.

Now when I say “scads” I mean many yards. Like 12!!!  My thought was that I was going to make Roman shades or I was going to cover something.  Something really BIG.  Anyway when it arrived, it was much more vibrant in person than it was on-line, and to be honest it really scared me.  I was worried that it was going to make our very relaxing beach house very UNrelaxing.  So I put the fabric aside and went on with my other projects.  Like this one.

Well, as our summer progressed it became very humid and hot.  I decided to stay indoors with the air conditioning  and sewing machine.  I pulled the Amy Butler fabric from my stash and went ahead and just started messing with it.  I don’t have a dum dum on the east coast, so I had to use myself to drape the fabric on.  I am actually not sure how I ended up with this maxi dress.  It just sort of happened.

Here is a sketch.

And here is the finished dress.

It can get so hot and humid that all you can do is wash your face and put your hair up.  There is no reason to wear any make-up because you’re just going to sweat it off!  Ugh!

I am not really sure if this is even a very becoming shape on me, but I do know that if I were to buy a maxi dress in the store, it would be wayyyyyyyy to long for me.

Here is a close-up (sorry for the bad picture).

Here is another close-up.

This maxi dress has no closures.  The bodice is sewn with a drawstring chamber so that the dress doesn’t just look like a paper sack.  It hugs me right under the bust line and from there on it is loose and comfy!  This was an experiment, and I guess I am happy with the result.  I will probably wear it again.

I still have many yards of this fabric remaining.  Hmmm, I wonder what else I can create?

Happy Sunday Folks!

Wacky Wednesday!

I find myself here on a Wednesday feeling a little “chubby tired”.  This is what our family refers to when we’re feeling chubby, and tired from being chubby.  It’s NOT a good feeling.  Anyway….. I had my wonderful husband of 20 years, take some photos of me in the Socialite Dress, an Anna Maria Horner Pattern.  

This is the second time I have sewn this dress, and this particular dress in the light blue has been part of my UFO pile for quite sometime!  Last night I decided to tackle it.  All it needed was a hem, some pressing and a belt.  Done!

Silly shot of me soaking up the sun, perhaps?

Spring forward, Fall back?

  Here is the back.

Last one, I promise!  Isn’t this a funny shot?

 It looks like I am either cleaning Peek-A-Boo’s behind or I am watering her so she will grow more!

I am thinking that the next time I sew this dress, I might do a little color blocking with it.   It would be a fun dress to make in a bright fuchsia with tangerine orange accents.   Try this pattern, it’s an easy sew that can be dressed up or down. It’s going to make a great bathing suit cover-up in Cape Cod this summer!

Enjoy your day whatever you end up sewing!